The New Frontier for the EU–Africa Relationship and its Relevance for Southern Africa

Image: Getty, Philippe Wojazer/AFP
Image: Getty, Philippe Wojazer/AFP

In late 2020 the relationship between the European Union (EU) and Africa had reached a frontier and the next phase in the relationship was very unclear.


  • In late 2020 the relationship between the European Union (EU) and Africa was at a frontier, with the next phase being very unclear;
  • A nexus of factors, including historical events and circumstances, provide the context in which key decisions now need to be taken about the future relationship between the EU and Africa;
  • A variety of issues, often of a longstanding and problematic nature, need to be addressed in order to craft an optimal way forward for the relationship;
  • Among the key challenges is the multiplicity of relationships characterising the EU’s partnership with Africa;
  • Africa needs enhanced capacity to coordinate and manage its relationship with the EU, while both parties need to engage in better dialogue to achieve consensus on the objectives of their partnership and to identify priority programmes;
  • South Africa is of considerable importance to the broader EU‒Africa relationship, and should play a key role in facilitating better results from other partnerships between European and African stakeholders.
11 Mar 2021

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Research by
SAIIA Policy Insights No 101, February 2021
Sub-Saharan Africa
SAIIA Programme
Economic Diplomacy
European Union (EU)
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